Your mindset is a powerful tool. Mindsets set the tone ahead of any game or event.
Take the 1980 U.S. Olympic Miracle on Ice for instance. That wasn’t just something that happened by hap stance. Sure, skill was a part of the victory, but mindset took a more important shift.
To overcome the mighty Soviets, it took belief. The U.S. team had to believe that a group of young amateurs could beat a group of professional hockey players. They had to have that mindset in order to even have a chance before they took the ice.
Renowned psychologist Carol Dweck has done the most work on mindset, emphasizing the differences in fixed and growth mindsets.
According to Dweck’s research (heavily documented in her book, Mindset) a fixed mindset is the concept that you are born with certain traits or qualities that you cannot develop (very similar to our Mental Toughness Myth #1: the idea that ‘you have it or you don’t’)
In contrast, a growth mindset focuses on the concept that you can change and develop characteristics and talents.
Fixed mindsets and the mental toughness myth show up in our culture in subtle ways. One such way is in labels. When we say an athlete is a “natural” or a “bust” or a “beast” or “trash” we are creating two defaults: a default language and a default future.
The “naturals” end up believing that their path will be easy and the people around them need to recognize how special they are and treat them that way. The “busts” believe their past will be nothing but difficult and challenging. They are always out to prove everyone wrong.
These labels and way of thinking lead athletes to leveling off in their development. They spend too much time proving they are a “natural”. When they make mistakes they spend too much time proving they are not a “bust”. Then, inconsistency develops.
Naturally, a mentally fit athlete should adopt the growth mindset over the fixed mindset. A high performance mindset if you will.
The 3 characteristics of a high performance mindset:
1. Failure = Learning: They see failures as a learning opportunity rather than a threat or a conviction that they are underperforming.
2. Self Forgiveness: They have the process to forgive themselves and return to the moment quickly.
3. Comfortable with Uncomfortable: They stay poised in the face of adversity and uncomfortable situations.
Focusing on this growth/high performance mindset through time, effort and improvement will help you to create your own Miracles.